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Comment: Re:a lot of .NET development has been (Score 2, Informative) 580

by amsr (#26808031) Attached to: Microsoft Accused of Squandering Billions On R&D

They spend a lot on R&D, and they actually innovate quite a bit. I think Apple is more trendy right now and that is the reason they're making so much money with little investment. They're investing more into advertising, branding, and image than they are into technology. It seems that Microsoft is making a little more effort to do this these days, but it will be difficult for them to totally turn things around in this respect.

In terms of technology and innovation though, Apple takes what it can from open source, and contributes back exactly as much as they're legally obligated to. They didn't design the operating system, and a lot of their original system APIs come from the NeXTStep heritage (and thus are implemented in Objective-C, which is not hugely popular but was probably the fastest way for them to take NeXT's stuff and start selling it).

This isn't really accurate. You do realize that the list of original inventions by Apple is huge. Those of us who have been using Apple stuff since the early 80s really appreciate this in a way that someone who started paying attention to Apple recently can't. In fact in the 90s, Apple was teeming with great "Apple first" technology, but nobody knew about it or used it because they couldn't market it effectively. Newton anyone?

In fact, the long running joke is that Apple *is* MS R&D dept.

Apple does use and contribute to OSS, but thats honestly the whole point of OSS. You can't knock them for that. As far as them not inventing the technology in OSX, thats not correct either. Its not like OSX was available in the OSS community and they just put it in a box. They have spent years developing the technology that sets OSX apart from other UNIX based systems. Quicktime, Core Audio, Quartz, the whole OSX GUI, the search technology that is now Spotlight, etc.. And even the tech they got from NeXT technically is "Apple" because Apple bought NeXT and all of their employees and IP. So the Mach kernel, Cocoa, WebObjects, etc.. are all now "Apple". OSX is a mixture of original "Apple" and "NeXT", but its all Apple now, and there is nothing else quite like it on the market...

Just because Apple is "trendy" now doesn't mean they aren't and haven't been innovative. These things aren't mutually exclusive. And in fact, you'd want the most innovative companies to be the most popular. Its a shame it doesn't happen that way more often.

Comment: Re:Move from cars to rail, it's not going to happe (Score 1) 897

by amsr (#26240125) Attached to: Can the Auto Industry Retool Itself To Build Rails?

You have to know thats not typical. According to http://www.amtrakdelays.com the average delay on the 8am Acela from NY to Boston over the past month has only been 6 minutes. Most trains taking just over 3.5 hours. I never once was delayed more than 10 minutes taking the Acela from DC to NY and back in the 2 years I lived there... it can happen, but its not typical. Outside the NEC, its a different story though..

Comment: Re:commuter rail, commuter rail, commuter rail (Score 1) 897

by amsr (#26240083) Attached to: Can the Auto Industry Retool Itself To Build Rails?

Actually commuter rail does work. And it works really well, in areas that are dense enough to support it. Ever been to NYC? Most people take the train to work every day. The tri-state area supports 3 commuter railroads (LIRR, NJ transit, and Metro North) in addition to a subway system and Amtak. Boston supports a subway and a commuter railroad, as does Phila, Baltimore and DC. The issue is what to do with the rest of the country that isn't so densly populated. But "the majority" of the population does live in or near urban areas that are or could be served by commuter rail ie the Northeast, Chicago, and California.

Comment: Re:Right. (Score 1) 897

by amsr (#26239637) Attached to: Can the Auto Industry Retool Itself To Build Rails?

GM made locomotives since the 1950s. Any locomotive that is an "EMD" stands for General Motors "Electro Motive Division". The famous streamlined "F" series and "E" series locomotives were made by GM, and so is the commonly used SD70 series. Only recently did GM sell their locomotive business (I think in 2005). BTW, most locomotives that are "deisel" are really "electic" with a diesel engine providing power generation. The electic motor provides the torque that drives the wheels, a gas powered engine would have a hard time starting a freight train.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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